The final round of this year's championship was pencilled in for the western shores of Sweden in the city of Gothenburg. With a poor Malmo showing at the penultimate round held in Oslo, the destination of the cup was all but decided, barring a Stockholm meltdown. With the late withdrawl of Oslo only the big four were challenging for the day's silverware.
A soggy pitch greeted the teams but the sunshine was sure to take care of that before lunch time. Nonetheless, precision kicking was of the utmost importance and neither side were advocates of thins in the opening period. A flurry of wides were shot by both teams before Noel Grehan opened the scoring for the Oresunders. A minute later, Stockholm found a reply but after a messy and scrappy half of football the scores remained a point apiece.
A quick goal on resumption of play for Stockholm dampened Malmo efforts and a succession of spoints secured a win on a score of 1-04 to 0-01. Malmo had a lot to do having started on the back foot although fine performances from Dave Loughnane, Pat Phelan, Noel Grehan and a top class save for Whelan in the nets were encouraging, as well as the irrepressible Michael Lynch.
As hosts, Gothenburg were never going to be an easy target for the visitors but a spirited Malmo side quickly ripped into them. Denis O'Riordan was in menacing for down the left flank and was creating chances and space, while Mark Rattigan, in the unusual spot of right half back, was mopping up loose ball on the 40 and helping out the Malmo midfield. With a quick flurry of points from Lynch and Grehan, as well as one tagged on from Phelan, the men from the south burst into an early lead of three points to no reply. Sami Mohammed was plaing well and holding up ball for the attacks to flow but a fearless Gothenburg notched points of their own to leave a halftime scoreline of 0-05 0-03. Still anyone's game.
The second half saw the introduction of Niklas Saav and Shane Doherty for Malmo. Both contributed greatly in the forward and back lines respectively. Gothenburg goaled soon after the ball was thron in to give them the most slender of leads. Malmo responded with a goal of their own to go back in front but a pair of well taken Gothenburg points soon had the teams level. Joe Whelan's long kick-out was reaping dividends for Malmo but inefficiency in front of goal was costing them. Aidan O'Reilly was having a stellar performance at full back and a number of forrays from the wiley veteran had Malmo on the better side of the scoresheet again. Gothenburg goaled again to put one point between the sides and Malmo answered with two points of their own to go ahead by the most slender of margins. Thrilling stuff for the casual observer, frustrating from a Malmo point of view because with seconds on the clock, one final Gothenburg assault reaped a point and snatched a draw for the hosts. All over, the spoils shared on a high score of 1-09 to 2-06.
If ever there was a cause for the Malmo group to stand up and be counted this was it. A tough contest between neighbours and close rivals Copenhagen was never going to be an easy task. From the outset both teams tried to physically stamp their authority on the game with hard tackling and quick ball play. Simmi Josteinsson was playing thrilling football on Malmos front line while O'Riordan contined his running attacks. Lynch, Grehan and Phelan each added a point in the opening half and Loughnane was playing stellar stuff in the centre. Copenhagen though are no soft side. They responded to the challenge and scored a point of their own before the half time whistle was blown.
Again, Doherty and Saav were introduced in the second half and accounted well for themselves and Rattigan, O'Reilly were having an impact on the flow of play. Whelan was also showing well as the last line of defence. Josteinsson scored a marvellous soccer style goal by rounding his man and then the keeper to shoot low into the corner. Jubilation for Malmo. Copenhagen kept threatening the Malmo backline and scored a couple of points but by the time the whistle was blow the damage had been done and Malmo were the victors on a score of 1-05 to 0-03.
Gothenburg went through to the final against Stockholm on points difference over Malmo. The final was played in good spirits with the capital side the eventual winner, also making them 2010 Scandinavian Champions. Congratulations to all.
Final Championship table
*Copenhagen top Oslo on head to head 2-0